1973 Holden Torana LJ GTR XU-1 on the block tonight

By: Spencer Leech, Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

XU OPT Holden Torana GTR XU-1 XU OPT
XU REAR Holden Torana GTR XU-1 XU REAR

Giant-killer XU-1 is bound to get plenty of interest at Shannons.

With the success of big V8 muscle at Mt Panorama in the early 70s, it was clear that when it came to racing, there was no replacement for displacement — or so we thought.

Building on the sportiest model in the Torana line-up, the GTR, Holden developed the XU-1 and set its sights on Bathurst. Three Holden Dealer Teams competed in the great race in 1971, taking on the well-established V8 machines, with promising results.

Holden then released an updated XU-1, the LJ, with new heavy-duty springs, revised camshaft, a lightened flywheel and a 3.08:1 differential, allowing the Torana to reach 225km/h down Conrod Straight.

In 1972 at the Hardie Ferodo 500, and with half the engine, the Peter Brock LJ Torana GTR XU-1 finished a lap ahead of the second-placed GT-HO steered by John French, proving once and for all that light-and-balanced can trump big-and-powerful.

The production LJ XU-1 was very well-equipped from factory — its 202ci six-cylinder engine producing 141kW of power and breathing through triple Stromberg carburettors.

Though a total 3300 LC and LJ XU-1s were built, very few unmolested examples remain as many were either raced into the ground or neglected into oblivion.

To be sold tonight at the Melbourne Summer Classic Auction, is one of those few original LJ GTR XU-1s still knocking about. 

The car is painted in Purr Pull, the same colour that it was delivered with in 1973. Cosmetically, the car has been heavily refurbished, but its under the bonnet where this car really shines.

According to the description, the engine and drivetrain have been fully rebuilt to Bathurst specifications; with all-new internals, overhauled and tuned carburettors, and a rebuilt and revised LSD differential. The car is currently on club plates in Victoria, so it will be sold unregistered.

Because of its rarity, and current spike in popularity, it’s estimated at $75-85,000.

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